Yesterday over 50 people met at our office. Amongst them were most of Delhi's environmental NGOs and many involved citizens. They came to form "Trees for Delhi," and to start a campaign on the assault on trees in the city, mostly for road widening work and transport corridors. How do we balance transport and the issue of trees? Why is the city not informed, are the trees not of citizens? Why are people asked to participate in tree planting drives, when these can be " cut at will?" Delhi without trees - what is it?
If we do not focus on the tree again, and let all discourse flow from that point, there is no debate. The tree has to be important. Symbolically as well as a living entity. There is lot to be done, and I hope we are upto the task collectively and individually.
Ofcourse mass transport which is cheap and efficient is very important. Anyone who has taken a ride in Delhi's buses in the morning will know that. But does that mean that we have do do nothing about traffic management? Cars will increase and ply like usual, where the trees once were? If the city need to improve let it pay the cost for it, but not at the expense of cutting down its trees. Should we not be also talking about "car management?"
Let this not be a battle between trees and mass transport, but about equity and fairness as well, about rationality and sustainability, where the tree too has a right to be.